Julian Assange appeals to Barack Obama from London embassy
WikiLeaks founder and Australian in exile – Julian Assange – has appeared in London to ask US President Barack Obama to make his country “do the right thing” and “end its war on whistleblowers”.
JULIAN ASSANGE has acknowledged his Australian family and supporters during his first public appearance in several months.
“[I am grateful] to the people of the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia who have supported me in strength, even when their governments have not,” spoke Mr Assange from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Sunday. “And to those wiser heads in government who are still fighting for justice. Your day will come.”
The WikiLeaks founder, who has been making headlines around the globe this month, emerged into pubic view on ‘his’ Ecuadorian London balcony dressed in a shirt and tie. He spoke for almost five minutes, in a speech that may yet have important repercussions for the entire world.
“It was fabulous,” Christine Assange said of her son’s speech.
“He looks so well, he sounds well, he puts many so-called leaders to shame.
“He’s written and read a brilliant speech … which has inspired millions.”
Ms Assange watched her son live on television at her Brisbane home.
Outside the London embassy hundreds of media, WikiLeaks supporters and general bystanders came to hear the silver-haired 41-year-old Australian secret-leaker, who has not been seen in public since March.
“To my family and my children who have been denied their father, forgive me. We will be reunited soon,” Mr Assange told a captive audience.
On Thursday Ecuador’s government granted Mr Assange diplomatic asylum.
The decision came 57 days after the WikiLeaks chief sought protection from the south American nation, and checked in to its UK embassy.
British courts have ruled that Mr Assange must be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations. British police even moved in to raid the Ecuadorian embassy and arrest the ‘Australian fugitive’, an attempt Mr Assange said would have contravened the Vienna Convention.
“On Wednesday night, after a threat was sent to this embassy and the police descended on this building, you came out in the middle of the night to watch over it and you brought the world’s eyes with you,” Mr Assange told his supporters from the balcony.
“Inside this embassy, after dark, I could hear teams of police swarming up into the building through its internal fire escape. But I knew there would be witnesses. And that is because of you.
“If the UK did not throw away the Vienna conventions the other night, it is because the world was watching. And the world was watching because you were watching.
“So, the next time somebody tells you that it is pointless to defend those rights that we hold dear, remind them of your vigil in the dark before the Embassy of Ecuador. Remind them how, in the morning, the sun came up on a different world and a courageous Latin America nation took a stand for justice.”
Mr Assange and his supporters fear extradition to Sweden would be the first step in a move towards the United States, where he is under investigation for the operations of WikiLeaks.
He appealed to the US to “renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks” in his speech.
”I ask President Obama to do the right thing,” he said. ”The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation
“The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute … our staff or our supporters. The US must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful.
“There must be no more foolish talk about prosecution of media organisations, be they WikiLeaks or The New York Times.
“The US administration’s war on whistleblowers must end.”
Scores of police formed a barrier around the embassy on Sunday while the self-proclaimed ‘freedom fighter’ spoke and there are fears that he will never make it to Ecuador to receive his asylum status without being arrested by British authorities first. - With AAP
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